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The tuning properties of two-dimensional dielectric and metallic photonic crystals, which contain nematic liquid crystal materials as defect elements or layers, are thoroughly analyzed using appropriate formulations of the finite difference time domain (FDTD) method. Our methodology correctly incorporates the anisotropy introduced by the liquid crystal materials together with the dispersive properties of the metallic elements; it is used for calculating both the dispersion diagrams of the defect-free photonic crystal as well as the device response in the presence of the defect elements. Numerical simulations reveal that defect states originating from the liquid crystal impurities can be effectively tuned by the application of a local static electric field. Indeed, tuning ranges up to almost 100 nm can be achieved requiring operating voltages lower than 4 V. It is also concluded that the placement of a defect mode relative to the bandgap edges greatly influences both its linewidth as well as its tuning range.
Date of Publication: May 2005